It was not until recently that I was able to define urban planning, which seems paradoxical coming from someone who grew up with questionably one of the greatest cities in the world in my backyard. I was born in and raised in the suburbs of New York City, one of the most densely populated cities in the world; a microcosm of globalization and diversity. Nevertheless, because I had benefited and been acclimated to the urban planning of NYC, it had not occurred to me all the interdisciplinary fields that went into molding the city. Urban planning affects all aspects of city living. Urban planning covers many interdisciplinary fields that focus on tangible, political, and social solutions.
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Planning encompasses land use and development, laws, protection, public welfare, urban design, transportation that includes air, water, and the infrastructures such as bridges, trains, tunnels, and more. There is a lot of problem-solving required to find a sound solution that benefits the whole. It is a dichotomy, a holistic and a fine-grained job, where work can consist of big scope projects pertaining to an entire region or a single infrastructure assignment. All which I find exciting, the various types of project that are part of being an urban planner. It was not until I moved to Hoboken, referred to as NYC’s sixth borough, that I was unequivocally immersed in the city’s urban jungle lifestyle. I was able to experience the multifarious aspects of the city first hand daily; learning the subway system lines, exploring the various neighborhoods, and understanding the gridded streets. As I started traveling to other cities domestically and internationally I was able to compare and analyze why some features worked better in one city compared to another.
My collective experiences have shown me that while cities are focal points for ideas, culture, and innovation, they are also where the world’s greatest problems lie. “By 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, the urban population in developing countries will double, and the area covered by cities could triple” according to a U.N. report in 2016, placing immense pressure on the natural and public resources in urban areas. Issues like poverty, inequality, gentrification, transportation, unsustainable energy consumption and declining infrastructure will shape city life for decades to come. With my new perspective, I found myself intrigued to learn more. I began attending and volunteering for events, lectures and exhibits such as rethinkNYC Plan 2050, NYC at Its Core, Social Equity Built in the Environment and other Urban Green Council events. In addition to reading articles online about the various interdisciplinary of urban planning. I learned about its subway system that runs twenty-four seven with more track mileage than any other metro system, and a grid system for streets that makes it easy to navigate for anybody. NYC is one of America’s oldest cities and one of the world’s youngest.
What I find remarkable is the history of its progression in such a relatively short time. Through the centuries NYC has been an example of innovative urban planning, from building bridges and tunnels expanded the city horizontally to the improvement of fireproofed iron-framed structures and inventions of elevators and electric lighting that made it possible to build taller buildings which expanded the city vertically. The era of Robert Moses shaped the city but had some questionable plans that citizens didn’t agree with. Activist and government officials like Jane Jacobs and Mayor Robert Wagner fought to keep the integrity of what defines NYC. Today all types of urban planners are working on physical and social changes in NYC. It is truly a sublime city with infinite potential to be better. The future will be defined by how cities grow and how people benefit from their progress. Inspired and determined, I want to contribute to the world through my career. I’m pursuing urban planning to create tangible solutions that improve city conditions and life. I am driven to make an impact to create salubrious and prosperous cities. The Master of City and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) program at the Bloustein School has been repeatedly acclaimed as a top program in the nation. Upon further research, I believe they can provide me with the education required to bring my goals to fruition.
The specific concentrations within the program will allow me the opportunity to explore more thoroughly my own interests and have a more focused education. The program gives the required general courses to provide a foundation while the recommended courses will help personalize my education to the areas that specifically interest and help me. Moreover, some of the recommended courses offered are from other departments within the university as well as with Princeton University and New Jersey Institute of Technology. Thus giving the opportunity to get a well-rounded program designed specifically for me. Furthermore, the school has a vast network connected to many companies in the greater NYC area. This really intrigues me because I am pursuing an industry that is foreign to all my connections. I want to become a great urban planner and while education is crucial so are the network connection to get those opportunities. Utilizing the Office of Student and Academic Services to help guide me to get an internship and job would be an incredible resource to utilize. The ability to take advantage of career advising sessions and employment preparation to help get me to the position in a company I desire is something I plan to exploit. Lastly, the Bloustein School’s faculty for the program are top in their fields. The professors have worked in businesses and government positions that addressed today’s most challenging issues. They have published in academic journals, worked in local, state, and federal governments and professional corporations and nonprofits. Professors like xxxx and xxx really stood out to me.